Review by matt91486

"The myths of Pokemon put to rest"

OPENING STATEMENT
Surely you all have heard of it. Pokemon. The name brings shouts of joy from the mouths of some, and strikes fear in the hearts of others. But ignore the fad for a minute. But aside the commercials, the screaming throngs of children, and the announcements on the mall information boards. Just concentrate for a moment on Pokemon the Game Boy game. The innocent little game that did not mean to start this trend. The creative little RPG from the minds at Game Freak. Just concentrate on reading this unbiased review...

GAMEPLAY--9
Pokemon has one of the most innovative battle systems ever in an RPG. This by far surpasses the famed Rock-Paper-Sissors type duels and Unite attacks from the Suikoden series. This game is the Guardian Forces and Summon Beasts from the Final Fantasy series on another level. Now, you do not summon monsters to assist your characters. They ARE your characters. And there are one hundred fifty-one of them two catch, train, and just generally become acquainted with. Well, there is one more if you could a glitch that Nintendo let fall through the cracks. (There are a lot of them. You will find out more about them later.) Everyone will soon enough become attached to one or two favorite Pokemon that they will treat the best, and always keep in their line of six. This makes Pokemon more personal than a game such as Legend of Mana, where characters pretty much come and go as they please.

First, I will inform you on the tactics of catching Pokemon. When your character is walking through the long grass or in a cave, mountain, or a cavern while he is traveling from city to city, he or she may run into wild Pokemon. Wild Pokemon you are able to battle against to weaken with your own trained Pokemon, and then to capture with one of the many kinds of Poke Balls. Of course, if you weaken a Pokemon too much it will faint and lose the battle, in which case you are unable to catch it. The ultimate, perfect amount to damage a Pokemon when you want to capture it is to make it have one health point. A feat, that you will never for certain know you have accomplished, as you have only a general health bar of your opponents.

To catch Pokemon you must use various types of Poke Balls. The kinds are Poke Balls, Great Balls, Ultra Balls, Master Balls, and Safari Balls. What I am saying here does not apply to Safari Balls. They are used in a completely different way that is described later. Once you weaken a Pokemon to a level you think capturing it to join your team is probable, you can throw one of these types of Poke Balls. If the Pokemon is not captured, keep in mind, the Ball is lost forever. Well, actually it is lost forever even if you do catch the Pokemon. The Poke Ball misses the most, and is the cheapest. The Great Ball is in the middle in both categories. The Ultra Ball misses the least and is much more expensive than the others. What about the Master Ball you ask? The Master Ball is different. It cannot be bought in stores like the other kinds of Poke Balls. You can only get one Master Ball in the game, and that you get after doing a favor for someone about halfway through the game. The Master Ball automatically catches the Pokemon you wish to use it on. But, as you only get one, I would advise you to hold on to it until you come up to a special, very difficult to capture Pokemon that you want very badly.

Catching Pokemon in the Safari Zone is a completely different beast. Instead of using Pokemon and attacks, you throw bites of food and rocks at the Pokemon, and you use Safari Balls. Each time you pay to enter the Safari Zone, (To get in you pay five thousand gold.) you get thirty Safari Balls to use in your trip through it. You also receive unlimited bits of food and rocks. You have five hundred steps to journey through the zone. This limits the time you can spend there, so it is best to walk in the long grass whenever possible, as to not waste time in an area where you have a zero percent chance of catching a Pokemon.

In a normal Pokemon battle you have many things you can do. The first thing you can do is that you can choose an attack with your current Pokemon. Each Pokemon has up to four attacks or moves that they can perform. More often that not, those moves are somehow related with the Pokemon’s type. These moves or attacks can do one of four things. They can raise your stats, lower your opponents stats, heal yourself, or injure your opponent. The raising or lowering of stats is only for that current battle. The most common attacks are the injuring attacks, while healing attacks are the rarest. Some moves cause your Pokemon to skip the turn he is currently on, or the one after his move is completed to use an ability.

Some attacks or moves that are performed have lasting status effects. These are paralysis, poison, and sleep. Paralysis causes your Pokemon to be unable to perform a move, as does sleep. Poison works a little bit differently. Every five steps your character takes, the poison drains the poisoned Pokemon’s HP a little bit until you either use an antidote, take it to a Pokemon Center, or it faints.

The remaining three options I will condense into one paragraph. One of these three options is to switch your Pokemon with one of the other five in your line-up. This enables you to use another Pokemon in battle, one that perhaps has more health than the one currently used, or is better suited to your current opponent. Another option you have is to use an item. These items almost always heal a Pokemon of yours, or they are a form of a Poke Ball. The Poke Balls, as you will recall, catch wild Pokemon. The items that heal are called Potions. They come in three forms, which are Potion, Super Potion, and X-Potion. The X-Potion heals your Pokemon completely. The last option you have is run. Running can only be used successfully at all when you are facing wild Pokemon, but even then it does not always work. You cannot run from trainers or gym leaders ever.

Pokemon can learn attacks in various ways. The most common way for your Pokemon to learn attacks is through gaining levels. Each Pokemon will learn a certain attack when they reach a certain level. That level changes depending on which stage of evolution they are in. The higher the stage, the higher the level needed to learn an attack. There is also the option of teaching your Pokemon attacks through use of Technical Machines and Hidden Machines. Those are also known as, and will from know on be referred to as TMs and HMs. These TMs and HMs allow you to teach an attack to certain Pokemon that they work with. This may teach an attack that they may not ever learn otherwise, but it also may just teach them an attack that they will learn at a higher level. TMs may only be used once. Once they are used, they will forever disappear from your inventory. TMs you can find in Poke Balls laying around the landscape, earn from gym leaders, or buy at the Department Store in Celadon City. HMs may be used as many times as you wish. Once a Pokemon learns an HM however, it knows it forever. It can never forget that particular move and learn another one. TMs can be forgotten if you only want to use on for a certain amount of time, but I would suggest you try to be conservative with them too.

But, perhaps the most innovative thing about Pokemon is the aspect of your Pokemon evolving. Pokemon evolve in one of three ways. Most evolve when they hit a certain level. Others evolve when a certain stone of their same element is exposed to them. The rarest way of evolving, that is only used by four Pokemon, is evolving by trade. When that Pokemon is traded the person receiving it receives the evolved Pokemon. Evolutions are a vital part of Pokemon. Some Pokemon do not evolve, such as Onix. Eevee, whose official name is ‘The Evolution Pokemon’ can evolve into three different Pokemon depending on which stone it is exposed to! You can cancel evolution, by pressing the B button during the little ceremony in the game. Keep in mind once you evolve a Pokemon you can never go back. The results of evolving are the following. It does not have the same name, its stats are higher, and it looks different.

GRAPHICS--7
The graphics in Pokemon bring about a whimsical feel of a planet that is different, yet similar to ours, in many ways. For instance, the main character has a Super Nintendo in his house. His room has a bed. Each and every city has a store. They ride on bicycles. So many things are similar, but yet you really do have the feeling that all of the towns are really at someplace or somewhere, that us not where it is now.

The coloring’s default setting is in the color of your Game Pak. If you are playing through Pokemon Red, everything will be in the color of red. The same goes for Pokemon Blue. This helps identify the Game Paks if you are playing through a game with your Pak covered in duct tape and if you missed the start-up screen. But, the main color can be changed. Due to another glitch (Yes another one!) you can change the color to one of four other ones.

The Pokemon themselves give the game an interesting perspective.Your opponent’s Pokemon are always drawn excellently, and you can see them entirely from the third-person perspective. Your Pokemon, you see only the back of their head. And the back of their head is awful looking, out of perspective, and it looks absolutely nothing like the Pokemon’s back of the head should. It is the most pixelized image in a Game Boy game ever.

The scenery is done quite well, and it looks like a simplistic Super Nintendo game, an graphical effect that I was quite impressed with. I really like how the long grass that you can catch Pokemon is kind of shaped like a bent V. The rest of the scenery is well-drawn, also. Unlike most Game Boy games, there is no really important improvement if you are playing the game in color or in black and white, so old Game Boy owners be happy.

MUSIC--8
SOUND--6

For a Game Boy game, this is excellent music. The music does a superb job of varying so it is rarely the same, an audio feature I really look for in a game. The music is almost always in the same style, but it is always different enough that you never get the feeling of deja vu. I said almost for the songs in one location alone. That would be creepy tune for the mission you must complete on Cinnabar Island.

A feature I wish I was able to hear in the music, was not all that major of one, but it would have been nice to hear anyway. This was a variance in the sound when you enter a cave or go through Mount Moon. This would have added a new dimension to the audio, and it most certainly would have garnered the music at least a nine instead of an eight.

There are very few sound effects in Pokemon. All of the ones that there are, however, go to a very, very important purpose. They add sound effects to the attacks. Unfortunately, the sound effects are not as well done as the music. Some of them sound very similar, and this confused me to no end. I wish there was a better variety in the sound effects.

That alone was not the only problem with the sound effects. The quality of them was spotchy, and that spotchiness resulted in a giant step down from the sound quality of the music. This disparity probably could have been fixed, and it does not make a whole lot of sense. I think it was just kind of rushed, and then Nintendo did not want to mess with the fragile coding.

CONTROL--9
The controlling is not bad, not bad at all. Everything is accepted with the A button, and canceled with the B button. Start brings up the main, in-game menu that you will be using so much. Select is never used, not even once. The menus are set up for very easy access. The controls are set up perfectly for the beginner. The expert or veteran can get along just fine with them also.

FUN--10
Pokemon is the most fun you will have on your Game Boy or Game Boy Color until Pokemon Gold and Silver are released. You will play for hours on end mesmerized by catching a huge number of small, cute monsters. You will become attached to the game, and it will not leave the palm of your hand until you have beaten Pokemon once and for all! For a period of time, Pokemon will completely and totally consume you.

Pokemon also has plenty of link cable capabilities for you and your buddies. First of all, you can trade your Pokemon. You can trade your Pokemon to one another, one at a time. This allows you to get Pokemon you may not be able to get in your Game Pak, because you need Pokemon Red and Pokemon Blue, plus a little inclination, to get all of the Pokemon. Also, through yet another glitch, you can clone Pokemon. The other multiplayer feature you can use is called The Coliseum. In The Coliseum you and your friend take your current Pokemon lines, talk to the lady at the desk inside the Pokemon Center (which is what you do for trading, as well) and choose the option titled Coliseum. You can then battle, using no items, unable to run, until there is a victor.

CHALLENGE--MEDIUM
The challenge entirely depends on your style of play. If you love fighting battle after battle, raising your Pokemon’s statistics, you are quite obviously going to have an easier time throughout the game than a person whom is trying to beat the game as quickly as possible. I have decided to rate the challenge from my own point of view, as I raised my Pokemon’s stats in battles, but not all that much. I did not level up insanely.

The gym leader battles were not always as hard as the normal trainer battles, a fact that annoyed me to absolutely no end. You end up bracing yourself for a very difficult battle, because that Junior Trainer you just fought was almost impossible, and then you breeze by with a victory over Sabrina. So, the worst battles tend to be anti-climatic, which takes away something from the game, but not nearly enough to harm its spectacular rating.

REPLAY VALUE--MEDIUM
Some people will play through Pokemon hundreds of times. Others may play through it once, and then just play their friends in The Coliseum. But one thing is certain. You will never forget about Pokemon. Be you either of those examples, or someone in between, you will still play Pokemon years after you purchase it. You probably will be playing it long after the sequels to Pokemon Gold and Silver are released. Pokemon is the kind of epic game that just makes you want to play it, for all eternity. The amounts may vary, but the end result is still the same.

PROS
*151 Pokemon to catch.
*Innovative battling interface.
*Trading and battling through the Link Cable.

CONS
*Perhaps a bit too addicting.
*Many people will be scared away by the hype.
*The pixelization in the graphics.

CLOSING STATEMENT
Pokemon is one of the greatest games ever created. Ignore the fad, ignore the hype, and actually play the game. This fact will become clear to you. Pokemon is the kind of game that comes along once in a great while, just like the original Super Mario Brothers was. It will change the industry forever.

OVERALL--10


Reviewer's Score: 10/10 | Originally Posted: 03/06/01, Updated 07/18/01


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